Sentinel Pension Advisors, headquartered in Wakefield, Massachusetts, has evolved into a “participant-focused fiduciary,” notes Julie Doran Stewart, senior vice president, retirement plan advisory services. “Our ultimate goal is to set individuals up for success,” she says. “This dynamic participant-focused shift has come to define what we do and who we serve, and this mission will only continue to develop as we continue to grow.”
As part of Sentinel Benefits & Financial Group, Sentinel Pension Advisors takes a holistic, consultative approach to plan design and employee benefits by integrating the cumulative knowledge of all of the benefits the larger entity supports, including wealth (retirement) and health (insurance and reimbursement). Further, it hosts on-site meetings, both group and one-on-one, on such topics as expense management, debt reduction, goal-setting, health savings accounts (HSAs) and long-term care strategies. It also issues email and direct mail; and conducts educational webinars. Participants can reach the practice’s service center representatives by phone, email or chat.
The team is composed of experts across multiple disciplines, including advisers with a host of credentials—e.g., Certified Financial Planners (CFPs) or CFP candidates—who conduct enrollment meetings and investment education, and an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) team including ERISA attorneys. When it comes to investments, Sentinel’s CFAs on the investment management team oversee all of the recommendations the firm makes to clients. Each client’s demographics, plan statistics and participant access to education is taken into account when constructing the investment lineup.
To improve participants’ retirement readiness, Sentinel recommends automatic enrollment, automatic escalation and re-enrollment. However, the team is consultative in its recommendations, knowing there is not a silver bullet for every plan. Stewart notes, “Individual plan demographics and business environments play a role in every plan’s success or setbacks. We continuously measure incremental improvement and are pleased with the results of our combined efforts to improve our clients’ results against these measures of success.”“As a retirement plan adviser, we are honored to be able to make a difference in the lives of the plan sponsors and participants,” Stewart says. “We’ve made it our mission to alleviate stress and add value by breaking down retirement plan complexities into a simple yet comprehensive action plan that leads to meaningful change.”